The Creepy Tale of a D.C. Law Firm, the APA, and IFI
 
The Creepy Tale of a D.C. Law Firm, the APA, and IFI
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   09.15.17

IFI received a return-request letter via priority mail this week from Dunner Law, a law firm based in Washington D.C. that specializes in intellectual property law. The letter came from Adam Sikich, senior counsel with Dunner Law (and according to his bio, a “Star Wars aficionado”) on behalf of Dunner’s “Client,” the American Psychological Association (APA). In this letter, Sikich kinda, sorta implied Dunner might slap IFI with a $150,000 lawsuit if we don’t remove three illustrations we used in recent articles about a children’s picture book celebrating “pride” parades titled This Day in June by lesbian author Gayle E. Pitman.

Star Wars aficionado Sikich first told us how very important his “Client” is:

We represent the American Psychological Association, Inc. (“our Client”) in its intellectual property matters. We write to you regarding your organization’s use of protected illustrations from the copyrighted work This Day in June.

As you may be aware, our Client is the largest and most prestigious publisher in the field of psychology, mental health and development. Our Client’s children’s book division, Magination Press, publishes books that help children deal with the many challenges and problems they face as they grow up.

How have so many people for so many decades not realized how desperately little children need picture books about “pride” parades to help them face the challenges and problems they face—you know, the problems created for them by adults who sought to mainstream sexual deviance?

Then Aficionado Sikich informed IFI of the seriousness of our potential crime and the potential penalties for our potential lawbreaking:

Your organization’s use and posting of illustrations from This Day in June without our Client’s permission and without attribution to our Client or the book’s illustrator, Kristyna Litten, violates our Client’s exclusive rights in its work, including the right to control the publication, reproduction and distribution of the illustrations within the work. These actions subject your organization to copyright infringement liability under the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § I 06, entitling our Client to injunctive relief as well as statutory damages in an amount up to $150,000 if your organization is found to have willfully infringed the protectable rights in the illustrations. [emphasis added]

Clearly, Aficionado Sikich and the “Client” are miffed that the “Client” and illustrator were not given their due attribution. Well, Sikich’s command is my command, which I with subservience and alacrity hereby fulfill: The talented illustrator of Gayle E. Pitman’s rhetorically banal and offensive picture book This Day in June, which is published by the American Psychological Association’s Magination Press, is Kristyna Litten.

Oddly, Aficionado Sikich never mentioned the Fair Use Law which is used to determine whether copyright infringement has taken place:

Under the doctrine of “fair use,” the law allows the use of portions of copyrighted work without permission from the owner…. [T]he fair use of copyrighted material without permission is allowed when used for the following purposes: criticism; comment; news reporting; teaching.

What a coinkydink! Those were IFI’s–a non-profit organization–exact purposes. I just bet that impish Sikich knew that.

(Why, oh, why couldn’t he be a Harry Potter aficionado, so I could say “that impish Quidditch-pitchin’ Sikich”?)

Even odder was this remark from Sikich:

That your organization has used this work to support an anti-tolerance, anti-gay rights agenda makes the unauthorized and unattributed use all the more troubling.

How does IFI’s disagreement with Leftist assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality and the “trans” ideology or our views on what constitutes age-appropriate material for young children make our potential copyright infringement “all the more troubling”? How is Sikich’s angst about IFI’s moral views legally relevant?

Aficionado Sikich conveniently casts our views as “anti-tolerance, anti-gay rights.” How does Sikich or the “Client” define “tolerance”? Is Sikich or the APA (or the American Library Association for that matter) “tolerant” of conservative views on the nature and morality of volitional homosexual activity or the “trans” ideology? If so, how does their tolerance manifest? What specifically are the “gay rights” to which Sikich or the “Client” refers?

And this brings me to the most remarkable part of Aficionado Sikich’s letter: In it I learned that Magination Press is the children’s publishing arm of the American Psychological Association.

Wowzer!

To remind IFI readers, Magination Press is the publishing company that published This Day in June as well as conducted an interview in which Pitman was asked what her book is “really about.” She said this:

I LOVE this question! This Day in June is really about being who you are, and not apologizing for it. When I wrote this story, I wanted Pride to be featured as realistically as possible. I wanted to see drag queens, guys in leather, rainbows, political signs, the Dykes on Bikes —everything you would see at Pride. I didn’t want any of it to be watered-down or sugarcoated. Lots of people have asked me, “Do you think that’s appropriate for children?” And my answer always is—YES. There’s something very powerful about allowing something to be portrayed authentically, because it teaches children in an indirect way to be as authentic as they can. It’s also important to recognize that children respond to Pride very differently than adults do. When adults see people wearing leather, they make certain associations to that. Children see people wearing leather and think they’re just wearing a costume, or playing dress-up. What I love most about This Day in June is that the illustrations are age-appropriate AND authentic at the same time.

With Pitman’s fervent belief in the power of “authenticity” and her absolute opposition to “watered-down or sugarcoated” illustrations, why are all the illustrations actually watered-down, sugarcoated, and whitewashed images of the inappropriate things children really see at “pride” parades? And why aren’t there any cartoon-y pictures of topless women, bare-bottomed men playing dress-up in chaps and mouth gags, or men engaged in simulated sex acts? What are her criteria or the “Client’s” criteria for determining age-appropriateness?

Isn’t it even a wee bit troubling to the APA that this picture book exposes children to watered-down images of people wearing leather without understanding the perverse “kink” culture with which it is associated? Doesn’t this constitute a form ideological grooming? In other words, through these illustrations, aren’t Pitman, Litten, and the APA normalizing homosexuality, the “trans”-ideology, and “kink” long before children are able to understand the authentic reality and critically examine the assumptions embedded in the watered-down, sugar-coated, inauthentic illustrations?

Imagine if a children’s author were to offer this rationalization for including sugar-coated illustrations of a KKK rally: “When adults see people in white robes and pointy hats, they make certain associations, but when children see people wearing them, they think they’re just wearing a costume or playing dress-up.”

The moral of this creepy tale is that the APA, the “most prestigious publisher [or is it most litigious publisher?] in the field of psychology, mental health and development,” cannot be trusted with children. The “Client”—foolish and cruel step-sibling of Big Brother—demonstrates a malformed understanding of child development, a grotesque view of age-appropriateness, and no sense of sexual morality.

Listen to Laurie read this article in this podcast:



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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children and nine grandchildren....
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